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On Merrimack’s Postmasters

Jenkins Store, now Reeds Ferry Market. Once the site of the Reeds Ferry Post Office.

The following article is created from excerpts found in a story by Janice Brown on her blog, Cow Hampshire. “In Merrimack, New Hampshire’s earliest years, there were no post offices. Those who wanted to leave “mail,” documents or packages for someone in the town could leave them at one of the town’s taverns or meeting-places for the person to pick up when they next visited. The Farmer’s Monthly Visitor published by Isaac Hill in 1852 says that “As late as 1777 there was but one Post Office in New Hampshire, that at Portsmouth…while in 1852 there are 360 Post Masters in the State!

Merrimack historically has four villages — namely Reeds Ferry, Souhegan Village [or simply Merrimack], Thornton’s Ferry and South Merrimack. When the post office system developed to the point where the town had an official post office, often each or several of these villages had its own. Merrimack’s early postmasters maintained an office in their home, inn/hotel, or place of business.  They often also served the function of Justice of the Peace.

The New-Hampshire annual register, and United States calendar by John Farmer and G. Parker Lyon, editors [later George E. Jenks compiler] was a great source of information on Merrimack’s postmasters.   The earliest postmaster I could locate (there may have been earlier ones) was 1823–Eleazer Roby. Merrimack’s first woman postmaster was Mrs. Hattie A. Evans, appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to serve South Merrimack from 17 March 1875 to 15 August 1883.

—–List (Incomplete) of Merrimack New Hampshire’s POSTMASTERS—–

A rare photo postcard postmarked 1913, courtesy RICK PRICE, showing the Fessenden & Lowell office (on 16 Maple Street) that apparently was also the Reeds Ferry post office for a time.

Elea Roby
[Editor’s note: This was Eleazer Roby, son of William and Hanah Roby, born 25 June 1772 Dunstable, Hillsborough Co. NH;  He married 26 Nov 1822 in Merrimack NH to Miss Prudence Morse. Died in 1852, as probate was 8 Oct 1852 Hillsborough Co NH.
Merrimack – Wm. Patterson
Thornton’s Ferry – Eleazar Roby
H.T. Ingalls
Henry T. Ingalls
6 Nov 1833

Obadiah Marland appointed postmaster at Merrimack,Hillsborough Co NH
Marten Crooker
David Jones
O. Marland
(from New Hampshire, U.S., Court Rosters, 1800-1961)
Abel Goodrich Jr.
Samuel McConihe
Simeon Kenney
Robert McGaw
Merrimack, Obadiah Marland
Ephraim W. Livingston
John McConihe Jr. /or/ Samuel McConihe (records differ)
Samuel Barnes Jr.
Obadiah Marland
Martin Crooker
New Hampshire, U.S., Court Rosters, 1800-1961
James U Parker
Oliver Spalding Jr.
Leonard Walker
Edward Wheeler
Robert McGaw
Samuel Barron
Reeds Ferry: M.P. Nichols
South Merrimack, Charles O. Smith
Thornton Ferry, Caleb Jones
Merrimack, Matthew P. Nichols;
South Merrimack, Peter E. Smith.
Thornton’s Ferry, Caleb Jones
Reeds Ferry – M.P. Nichols
South Merrimack – Harding Ball
Thornton Ferry – Caleb Jones
Reed’s Ferry – Matthew P. Nichols
South Merrimack – Kimbal W. Brown
Thornton’s Ferry, Caleb Jones to Oct 26, George Drew from Oct 26.
Merrimac: (sic) – John G. Read from Sept 24
Reeds Ferry: M.P. Nichols
South Merrimack: K.W. Brown, from Aug 8
Thornton’s Ferry: George Drew
Merrimack, POSTMASTER & EXP AGT – G.H. Bixby
Reeds Ferry, POSTMASTER–M.P. Nichols
17 March 1875 to 15 August 1883:
South Merrimack: Mrs. Hattie A. Evans, appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant.
Reeds Ferry – M.P. Nichols
Merrimack – G.H. Bixby
South Merrimack – Hattie A. Evans** (SEE below)
Merrimack, Postmaster & Exp. Ag’t — J.T. Jones
Merrimack South, Postmaster and Merchant–Asaph Evans
Reed’s Ferry, Postmaster–M.P. Nichols

Reeds Ferry – M.P. Nichols
South Merrimack – Harding Ball to July 15, K.W. Brown from July 15.
Reeds Ferry – Grace I Sullivan
South Merrimack – Ella E. Morse
Thornton’s Ferry – Angus Morrison
Thornton’s Ferry – Angus Morrison (Station Agent of B&M RR & postmaster)
South Merrimack: Percy Q Morse
Name   Title   Date Appointed
Mrs. Grace M. Hoffman, Postmaster
Louis Hoffman, Acting Postmaster 01/31/1940
[Editor’s Note: 1941 Reeds Ferry Postmaster, H.L. Jenkins. ]
Mrs. Sarah A. Sloan, Postmaster 08/20/1941
Mrs. Sarah A. Sloan’s name was changed by marriage to Mrs.
Sarah S. Bishop, on October 3, 1954.
[Raymond Jenkins retires as Postmaster in 1967. He was postmaster from 1961-1967]
[Mrs. Rita (Ralph) Nolet, named acting Postmaster January 1967]
Mrs. Phyllis O. Boles, Officer-In-Charge 02/26/1969
Alan D. Carswell, Officer-In-Charge 06/30/1970
Alan D. Carswell, Postmaster 12/11/1971
Robert A. Dion, Officer-In-Charge 08/10/1979
Robert S. Hamer, Postmaster 02/23/1980
Dennis C. Ward, Officer-In-Charge 07/19/1984
Paul B. Cathcart, Officer-In-Charge 09/24/1984
Paul A. Lipnick, Postmaster 10/27/1984
Michael T. Prifti, Officer-In-Charge 08/26/1987
Kenneth F. Magoon, Postmaster 10/24/1987
Wendy J. Hankins, Officer-In-Charge 08/22/1988
Michael K. Fortunato, Postmaster 10/22/1988
Charles P. Basbas, Postmaster 03/06/1993
Carol Hauser, Officer-In-Charge 08/11/1994
William W. Adams, Officer-In-Charge 04/20/1995
Susan F. Cutting, Officer-In-Charge 12/13/1995
Denise I. Wilson, Postmaster 03/30/1996
Donald M. Snow, Officer-In-Charge 01/18/2001
Dean L. Mottard, Officer-In-Charge 09/26/2002
Jeffrey M. Ryder, Officer-In-Charge 04/04/2003
Kathy A. Cwenar, Officer-In-Charge 05/08/2003
Clare Maureen Clarke, Postmaster 10/04/2003
Kathleen A. Cwenar, Officer-In-Charge 03/31/2004
Kathleen A. Cwenar, Postmaster 10/02/2004